Trade Proposal #3
Guardians receive Dylan Carlson and Tink Hence
Cardinals receive Shane Bieber and Emmanuel Clase
With my final trade proposal, St. Louis only sends over two players, Dylan Carlson and Tink Hence, for Bieber and Clase. Carlson provides strong defense, lots of team control, and a switch-hitting bat with the potential for more than he's shown thus far. Tink Hence gives the Guardians a young but very talented pitcher who could be ready to start in the majors by 2025. Cleveland has plenty of starting pitchers both now and for the future, so they would be willing to wait on someone with the talent of Tink Hence.
Dylan Carlson was once a top-15 prospect in all of baseball. His rookie and sophomore seasons of 2020 and 2021 showed his potential as a five-tool player. Between those seasons, Carlson slashed .255/.328/.425 for an OPS+ of 107. He also showed strong defense in the corner outfield and in center. Since then, he has fallen mainly due to his splits against right-handed pitchers when he's batting left-handed and a handful of nagging injuries. Carlson's final numbers in 2023 were good enough for just a 79 OPS+.
Carlson does, however, still have three more years of team control and will cost a modest $2.1 million, thus saving Cleveland about $10 million next year. Additionally, Carlson's defense has been strong at multiple positions across each season of his professional career. Cleveland would be banking on Carlson continuing to provide strong defense while hoping to be able to tap into his offensive potential.
In addition to Dylan Carlson, Cleveland nets a top pitching prospect in all of baseball, Tink Hence. Though Hence is still young and relatively raw, his 2023 numbers were strong. St. Louis tried their hardest to manage his workload, but they moved him up to Springfield in July and let him loose a bit. He pitched 54.1 innings at AA, and he showed some signs of struggle. He had a 5.47 ERA, 1.509 WHIP (mainly due to an inflated walk rate), and struck out fewer than nine batters per nine innings. AA Springfield is where Hence first showed signs of struggle, but he is a top-50 prospect in baseball according to multiple outlets.
Despite some struggles at AA, Hence still has plenty of upside. He has a power fastball, a deceptive curveball, and a slider and change up that provide a deep pitch mix for the young righty. If Cleveland were more interested in Tekoah Roby, the deal might get a little more complicated, but those two players could be interchanged easily.